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Tag Archive: copyright


Are you a designer on Zazzle, Society6, Cafepress oder other print on demand shops and a victom of blatant (mostly Chinese) copycat who sell cheap items with your original designs on Amazon? Many of us are affected, if not most. It happens with our most popular designs and our least popular designs alike. Anyone can be their victim and Amazon does little to help us.

Society6 and Cafepress do nothing to help us either. As far as I know, Zazzle (as of now) is the only site that really cares and tries to help their designers. They have understood that these cheap copies also hurt Zazzle’s reputation and earnings. We are not alone in this! Zazzle has even managed to make the process of reporting copies a bit easier for us, there is no need to repeatedly fill out Amazon.com’s online form!

I am writing this blog post as some kind of manual on how to find copies, how to report copies and what else there is you can do to fight back. Be warned, it will be tedious and annoying. You might even cry because it seems to be impossible to solve this but remember: The worst is to not even try it.

Please note that this “easy” process does only work with Amazon.com and there will also be copies on Amazon’s country pages (like Amazon.fr, Amazon.de and so on) that will NOT be removed via email. You will still need to hunt them down separately since they do have their own product numbers (ASIN) and you will need to fill out the online form for the respective country page. This might be a separate blog post in the future. Let’s concentrate on Amazon.com first.

How to find copies of my work?

Whether it will be easy to find your work or not depends on the amount of designs you have published online on sites like Zazzle, Society6 and Cafepress. Simply go to Amazon.com and search for titles or as unique keywords as you can imagine. I myself like to open my Society6 profile and then copy and paste each and every title of my designs from Society6 to Amazon – one by one – until I find something. This is tedious and works best when you are using the same titles on all pod websites. You could also concentrate on your 10 most popular designs on Society6 and Zazzle but then you might miss out a design. I have one design that I have never sold on Zazzle or Society6 but it keeps popping up on Amazon so you can never know what copycats like and sell.

Let’s take a look at a very popular example that keeps popping up every few weeks, the title on all pod websites is “Scenic Caribbean Photo Collage”:

Stolen Design on Amazon

It is incredibly popular as pillow and smartphone case 😦 Before reporting the item you need to make sure it is a copy and not some reseller or official Amazon Marketplace account like Society6 has one. Official resellers do mention your artist name in the description or title and so does Society6. Looking at this example screenshot there is no mentioning of my artist name anywhere.

2. Have proof about your ownership

You need to have the links to your original work handy, it does not matter whether it is a product page from Zazzle or Society6 and to the piece on an online portfolio. The only thing I do make sure is that my user name is matching or similar on all proof links and I do mention this user name in my email.

3. Prepare and send email

Start a new email to “notice@amazon.com” with the subject “Zazzle Image Report”. The subject is very important. If you don’t use it, Amazon might not read your email since they usually do not accept copyright infringement reports via email!

You also need to find the ASIN from the product you want removed, it’s Amazon’s unique product number. Scroll down on the Amazon page until you get to a box with addition product info like this, which also includes the ASIN:

ASIN

Use the following template exactly as it is and replace the text in [brackets] with your info:

Dear Amazon,

I am a Zazzle and Society6 designer.

My name is [Full Name, not Artist Name].

Amazon can contact me via email at [Your Email Adress].

I understand that Amazon may share my name and my email with third-party
sellers on Amazon who posted the content I want removed.

My Copyrights: I am the owner of the following copyrights which I believe
are being infringed by listings on Amazon:
[Link to your matching Product e.g. on Zazzle on Society6]

Content on Amazon I want removed: I believe the following content on Amazon
infringes my copyright(s):
[B01K1KLE1M]

I have a good faith belief that the content(s) described above violate(s)
my rights described above, and that the use of such content(s) is contrary
to law.

I declare, under penalty of perjury, that the information contained in this
notification is correct and accurate and that I am the owner or agent of
the owner of the rights described above.

Signed,

[Your Name]
[Your Artist Name – optional]

It is important that you send out one email per design, not one email with several not matching designs.

Possible: Design 1 has been copied on a pillow and on a phone case. Report it in one email with the ASIN for the pillow and the ASIN for the phone case.

Not possible: Design 1 and 2 have been copied on pillows. Do NOT report them together in one email!

Send the email and Amazon will usually reply within a few days and have the product removed.

4. Repeat

As already mentioned, be prepared to copies popping up again and again and again. The only good thing is that when you encounter a product you had already reported before, simply search for its ASIN in your emails and copy the text including the proof links into a new report email. That way you do not have to create it all from scratch. And after a few weeks doing this, you will know what titles to search for. This will also save some time *sigh*

 

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Remove product listings that sell stolen artwork, shut down stores that violate the seller agreement with regard to intellectual property rights, and have a better vetting process in place to approve sellers

Remove product listings that sell stolen artwork, shut down stores that violate the seller agreement with regard to intellectual property rights, and have a better vetting process in place to approve sellers

Amazon.com, please remove product listings that sell stolen artwork, shut down stores that violate the seller agreement with regard to intellectual property rights, and have a better vetting process in place to approve sellers!

Artists, please sign this online petition by clicking on the screenshot above!

Aliexpress is part of the Alibaba network, an online trading platform from China known for giving a sh*t about international copyright. Now many Aliexpress sellers are stealing your Zazzle designs and am selling them mainly on smartphone cases. The really “funny” part is that there is almost no known way you can fight back and report them – unless you have a patent with a patent number for your design and let’s be honest, who does?

I have opened up a topic in Zazzle’s forum, please do respond there begging Zazzle to take action.

In the past, Zazzle has been very supportive – not like Society6 who do not care about our copyright.

Please comment here or follow the link inside the thread to the pro forum:

—> Stolen Designs on Aliexpress <—

New Copyright Infringement with your Zazzle Designs on Aliexpress!

 

Are you a designer on Society6? Did you know that Society6 is also selling our products on Amazon – which is great since it broadens our potential customers. But somehow, Chinese sellers (I have only found Chinese sellers, so it seems they are all solely from China) are stealing your designs (mainly pillows and phone cases) and are selling them on Amazon for a much lower price. It is impossible that these fraudulent Chinese sellers might have bought them from us before re-selling them (maybe with a discount to justify the low price). Let me show you one example with screenshots to clarify what I mean:

This is the original item over on Society6 and MY item that Society6 had legally shared to Amazon in order to use the huge Amazon Marketplace. Click on the screenshot to get to the Amazon page:

Historic Drachenfels Throw Pillow by Christine Aka Stine1 by Society6

Historic Drachenfels Throw Pillow by Christine Aka Stine1
by Society6

As you can see, the seller is Society6 and both title and description feature my artist name Christine aka stine1. The price is $20 which is the same as if you bought it at Society6 itself.

Now here is the screenshot from the copied Amazon item, click on the screenshot to get to the page [Amazon has removed the item after their second email]:

This pillow design was stolen from me!

This pillow design was stolen from me!

Here, the seller is E-Lineage. My user name is still in the title since the title was copied but it was removed from the description. And what does the word “Octopus” have to do within the title? The price is $14.50 which is too low. The seller himself has no transactions yet, so no ratings available.

I had contacted Society6 and sent them both links, this is their not so helpful reply:

Hi Christine,

Thank you for contacting Society6 Support.
I went ahead and looked into this for you.
These throw pillows do not look like they were purchased from Society6 or else it would show up in your earnings under at least one of your products sold.
I would recommend contacting the seller or Amazon directly for more information on this one. From my end it does look a bit “suspect”.
Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to assist you.

Sincerely,
Jeffrey

So, Society6 finds this “suspect” but they cannot (or do not want to) do anything about it. I followed their advice and tried to contact the seller on Amazon and…. oh, what a surprise…. my message could not reach him:

Recipient's email address is invalid

Recipient’s email address is invalid

Now the real fun begins. Hey, it’s a weekend, I have time on my hands and love to spam someone with tickets. So I contacted Amazon. Actually, with my second ticket – they never replied to my first inquiry yesterday asking how a seller can sell an item that is mine and that he does not own. But they only promise to answer within 12 hours. Maybe they need a few more days to understand my first email.

Anyway, the answer to my second ticket (where I sepecifically asked how I could contact E-Lineage since I got this error message) is so funny, I thought it was a joke. Here is their reply:

Hello,

I am sorry for the inconvenience you faced so far in this case. As a customer service representative, I’m willing to help you in this issue.

In my experience, seller is in better position to help you. If you’d like to get in touch with a seller before placing an order, follow these steps:

1. Go to the product listing you’re interested in (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YC0EDQG)
2. Click on the seller’s nickname or logo
3. Scroll down to “Further Information” and click “Contact the seller”

Please give the seller 2 business days to get back to you.

You can learn more about ordering from a seller here:

www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=537802

Your patience and understanding is highly appreciated in this matter.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,
Nikhil J.

Wow, thank you so much for this advice. I mean, I never would have thought about that… oh wait, I DID exactly what you are describing here, mhhh… ^^

So I used their awesome feedback form relating to this email and am currently waiting for a second reply. This time, maybe a bit more helpful. Maybe…. just maybe!

Anyway, I strongly recommend to run an Amazon search for your Society6 username. You never know what you will find… 🙂

UPDATE 2015-05-31:

Amazon has finally took the time to REALLY understand my concern and I would like to share their answer with out as it entails a way to report these stolen products. Please use it and report, report, report. Only by this, we can fight back. It might take some time but I really do hope that it will improve the situation for all Society6 members!

Greetings from Amazon Seller Support,

I reviewed your email and understand that you are unable to contact the seller violates by taken your product image.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

To report this possible violation to our investigations team, you can use the following Contact Us form:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/reports/contact-us

Select one of the sub-categories and enter the details of the possible violation. Please be sure to include the following information, as applicable:

* The ASIN/ISBN of the item’s detail page and the product title
* The store or business name of the seller you are reporting
* Your order ID
* A concise explanation of the violation

All reports are thoroughly investigated by our investigations team and they will contact the seller from their end. For privacy reasons, the results of our investigations cannot be disclosed; however, disciplinary actions will be taken as appropriate.

I hope this information was helpful.

If you have further issues in this regard, please write back to us. We will be happy to assist you in this regard.

Have a great day!

And thank you Amazon for this solution! It’s good to know that you still DO care about us 🙂 Thumbs up! [The product has been removed from the marketplace]

Amazon Sellers are copying your Designs from Society6! #scam
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